A YouTube video viewed more than 700,000 times claims that this week could see a huge earthquake in California as a result of the way the planets are lined up in the solar system.
But the alignment — which couldn’t cause an earthquake even if it tried — won’t actually happen on the date that the video claims.
Frank Hoogerbeets claims in the video that on Thursday “no less than five planetary alignments will converge with the Earth”. Such an event would provoke an earthquake far more powerful than the one that hit Nepal last month, he claims.
As well as pointing to the alignment, the video claims that messages from spirits and Nostradamus, in addition to what he says is the energising of the planets, will cause earthquakes.
But the planets won’t even line up in the way being claimed on Thursday. Though Hoogerbeets used images from a special computer program to illustrate his claims, the conditions that he says will be present won’t really be.
And even if they were, the alignment of planets couldn’t have such an effect on the Earth. It is often claimed that gravitation changes resulting from planetary alignment could cause floods and other natural disasters, as well as earthquakes.
But as blogger Phil Plait has shown, it’s impossible for any of the planets in our solar system to have such an effect. Even the moon only has a tiny influence on earthquakes — and that has far more gravitational influence on the Earth than the combined gravity of the other planets around us.
The alignment of planets was most recently blamed for an anticipated day of weightlessness, which claimed that at the beginning of the year fluctuations in the Earth’s gravity would mean that we could lift off the ground. But like the earthquake claims, that too was a hoax — but one that managed to be shared over a million times on Facebook before it died down.Reuse content